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An open letter to the world, from alumna Ashleigh Fields

Diploma Programme (DP) graduate Ashleigh Fields offers inspiration and hope for the IB Community, reminding us of the everyday things we may overlook have the opportunity to fill us with joy. This is her second story in our graduate voices series.

An open letter to the world, from alumna Ashleigh Fields

By Ashleigh Fields

Dear Readers,

I hope you are taking this time to love the space you take up in the world. To appreciate the people, pleasure and presence in your life. I hope you are living in the now. Ensuring your daily actions have an impact on someone’s life other than your own. I pray your words have changed. That they are sweet like honey and have somehow found a way to comfort you in this state of isolation.

During this confinement I’ve found that expression is the truest essence of existence. If our lives are not seen or recognized by others, we feel less special even though we should not. Our bodies do not shrink but our thoughts do become small when our ego lacks an audience. When we are no longer in spaces that warrant a picture to plaster across the Internet, our lives seem less whole yet if you take the time to notice, our world has not changed.

Colors remain vibrant and sound is rampant. If you pause, you might notice how the trees sing when they are at the mercy of the wind. Or that the human body craves rainbows made of fruits or vegetables. And in this time spent alone, in enough stillness, you might learn that you like to color outside the lines on printed pictures. And that structure is confinement.

The unknown isn’t as unfamiliar as it seems. We have just taught ourselves that each trip to the classroom or to work is man’s promise that if you commit enough time to a theory it’ll prove itself true. That narrative is a lie, this virus is a stark magnifier of the truth. We have always been living in uncertainty but with the framework we built out of our routines to guide us. Without conscious measures of our restrictions, these structures give us a sense of freedom.

They allow us to hope. But more importantly they allow us to dream, and if we are devoted, to create. If we are bold enough to ignore being called crazy when we begin to follow imaginary footsteps on a trail ending in the clouds, then we have found courage and purpose, which is more than enough to sustain us as we embrace uncertainty.

So, to whoever is reading this, I want you to know that in this year, when doubtful voices are faint and normal is no more, you might hear your heart begging you to amplify its deepest desires. Give it your permission to manifest its presence on Earth, answer its call.

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Ashleigh Fields is a graduate of East Mecklenburg High School in Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S. She continued her studies at Howard University in the United States. She is an honors journalism major and political science minor. On weekends, you are likely to find her running track. You can connect with her on LinkedIn here. 

To hear more from Diploma Programme (DP) graduates check out these IB programme stories. If you are an IB grad and want to share your story, write to us at [email protected]We appreciate your support in sharing IB stories and invite you to connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter Instagram and YouTube!

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